A three-vehicle wreck in Westmoreland County, Virginia (VA), left one person dead and three people hospitalized with serious-to-life-threatening injuries. The fatal crash happened near the intersection of State Route 3 and State Route 624 a little after 6 pm on June 4, 2017.
According to State Police, the deadly incident started when a Hyundai Elantra crossed the double yellow line on Route 3, which is also known as Kings Highway. The car collided with a U-Haul truck head on, causing the box truck to run into the path on oncoming traffic. A pickup crashed into the passenger-side door of the U-Haul’s cab, sending both trucks into a ditch just west of the turn off to Route 624, which is known locally as Flat Iron Road.
The U-Haul rolled over, trapping its driver. All four people in the three vehicles initially survived and were taken to hospitals. The passenger in the U-Haul died from his injuries, and the box truck driver was admitted in critical condition.
Law enforcement officials did not immediately charge any of the drivers with committing a traffic violation, inflicting injuries or causing a death. If the crash reconstruction reveals that the car’s driver could have safely remained in his or her lane, then a citation could be issued. The relevant statute would appear to be section 46.2-804.6 of the Virginia Code, which states
Wherever a highway is marked with double traffic lines consisting of two immediately adjacent solid yellow lines, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of such lines, except (i) when turning left or (ii) in order to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard, or foot-scooter, provided such movement can be made safely.
Such a citation would not be for a criminal act, but rather for negligence. In studying the causes of head-on collisions, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that “most head-on crashes are likely to result from a motorist making an ‘unintentional’ maneuver -- the driver falls asleep, is distracted, or travels too fast in a curve.”
Inadvertent acts while driving still make a person responsible for the injuries and deaths he or she causes in a crash. This is true even if no charges or traffic tickets get issued. Holding an at-fault driver financially accountable through insurance claims or civil lawsuits is not always easy, though. Enlisting the help of an experienced Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney will help the innocent victims of this head-on collision in Westmoreland County secure the monetary compensation and damages they deserve.